Even though it’s all glass and steel high risers downtown, Vancouver shares a few key features with Palma: it’s right on the ocean, there’s a spectacular mountain range bordering it, and it has some great barrios. You can discover new places by cycling and hiking across Stanley Park or in the Costal Mountains, or just by walking the streets of Gastown, the neighborhood of my Airbnb apartment right now. The cool stores feature local brands and precious, carefully selected outfits from upcoming designers in Europe, Canada and the U.S. Some of the owners have been among the first who helped to turn the neglected old city center into a vibrant and diverse hotspot.
As for the fashion brands, I’m still crazy about Vancouver based Kit and Ace featuring technical Cashmere, Vince (from LA, but still West Coast and almost every item just perfect, kind of La Principal style) and mo851 (all light and soft leather bags from Montreal, admittedly not really West Coast but still Canada). And then there are some rather cool concept stores like Lynn Steven. The small boutique on Carrall Street offers an excellent choice of women’s clothes – and is a lovely outlet for Native shoes, manufactured just a few blocks further down (although I bought my pair of Native shoes at Mad Mood in Palma, the very first and still one and only store who got them on Mallorca). Or Nouvelle Nouvelle, hip clothing store on Abbot Street, opened by Noah and Amy just about eight years ago, when Gaston still looked quite differently.
The number of sleek retro race bikes in Gastown is outmatched only by the numerous coffee shops, crowded by creatives and tourists alike all day long. Among my favorites are the Prado Café (founded by Amy in 2005, and home of the fabulous ‚cookie with no name‘), Bean Around the World (love to sit in one of the comfy vintage Eames chairs right in the storefront window), and Buro Coffee (a ‚buro’ I would definitely like to go to in the mornings!). In the evenings, the restaurants take over – Vancouver’s culinary scene offers an unparalleled variety of food, from an authentic Pacific kitchen at the Alibi Room, Latin-American soul-food at Tacofino’s, or modern Japanese cuisine at Shirakawa’s, to German Michelin star chef Stefan Hartmann from Berlin at Bauhaus.
If you’ve been following my blog from the very beginning, you might remember that the idea for this blog was found on the Pacific coast about two years ago, when I was traveling from Vancouver to Seattle. I was intrigued by the open-minded, entrepreneurial spirit of the people I had met there, and I realized that it’s exactly this atmosphere that I love Palma for. So I started to write about places and people that make La Ciutat unique. Will be back, soon.